Want to one day be a top-performing creative working for the company of your dreams? No matter what your career level, a little reading can help you not only answer that out-of-left-field question during the job interview but also provide some helpful advice on your way up.
Hank Wasiak is cofounder of the Concept Farm, an Emmy-award winning TV host, retired vice chairman of McCann-Erickson Worldgroup, former president of Ketchum Communications and a seven-time Emmy-nominated executive producer.
Here are his top inspirational picks:
Change the Way You See Everything Through Asset-Based Thinking
by Dr. Kathryn Cramer and Hank Wasiak
"Kathy and I created and produced this book taking full advantage of a 'world that is flat' environment and using many of the principles articulated in the works listed below," says Wasiak. "As (800-CEO-READ founder) Jack Covert says, 'This book appeals to both sides of my brain.' Hope you like it and become part of the positive conspiracy."
Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite
by Paul Arden
"A very cool book," he says. "Fast-paced, direct and ballsy. Reminiscent of the creative culture that (Doyle Dane Bernbach founder) Bill Bernbach instilled in those of us who had the privilege of working for him. Unconventional thinking, taking risks, being responsibly outrageous and never being afraid of failing. Reading it with the perspective of 40 years in the business, I assure you that it's full of great advice that stimulates, challenges by not taking itself too seriously. Get it. Reenergize with it. I wish it was around when I started out."
Re-imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age
by Tom Peters
"Tom Peters is one of the most influential thought leaders and gurus in modern business," says Wasiak. "This is a must-read for creatives for a few reasons. First, it's an encyclopedia of Tom's best ideas and theories (even creatives need a dose of practical business thinking) Two, the format is a positive assault on the senses…it stimulates, postulates, educates and sometimes intimidates on every page. Three, the author takes a risk, breaks the mold of his past books and brings his audience along with him into new territory. Hats off to a guru bold and confident enough to go out of the box."
by Alan Lightman
"A pocket-sized, quick and breezy read that will open your mind to the exhilaration of possibilities rather than the confines of practicality," he says. "It's a cleverly written novel that delves into the world of Einstein's dreams, where time behaves quite differently. Each dream embodies one of the many possible natures of time in which cause and effect are erratic. Precisely the kind of environment in which creatives should revel."
The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century
by Thomas Friedman
"Creative people have always been the dreamers and disruptors of the status quo," says Wasiak. "In every field, they have helped us make the quantum leaps. The power of creativity in the 21st century is awesome with its reach and impact magnified exponentially. Tom Friedman's book brings all of this into focus through a beautifully crafted, juxtaposed mix of facts, examples and poignant stories. Most importantly, he reminds us that the power and privilege of creativity in a world that is flat carries with it a profound responsibility…'to use your imagination to bring everyone up to the same level' rather than 'bringing everyone down to the same level.' Choose up! Please."
A Final Recommendation
"Rent or buy the movie Akeelah and the Bee, produced by Sid Ganis and Nancy Hult Ganis," suggests Wasiak. "It's an entertaining, uplifting, positive film that demonstrates asset-based thinking at its creative and collaborative best. It will inspire you to make the most of your greatness and to fulfill your dreams. Akeelah is also a testimony to the collaborative power of like-minded people coming together to make a difference…the diverse talents of Hollywood, the dedicated commitment of producers and the corporate support of Starbucks to get solidly behind a film they believe in."